Tuesday, 13 April 2021

RIP John Pelan

I was shocked and saddened to hear that my old friend John Pelan had died.

John was instrumental in getting me involved once more in writing after I had more or less given it up till he contacted me about including the very first story I ever had published (in the 11th Pan Books of Horror back in 1970) in his two-volume anthology The Century's Best Horror Fiction, published by Cemetary Dance. He also included a new story of mine in his last anthology for Roc Books, Alone on the Darkside. We remained in steady contact for quite some time after this, as he was looking forward to publishing my first collection of short stories in his Midmight House Press imprint, but unfortunately his fortunes deteriorated at this time and, sadly, Midnight House and his other imprint, Silver Salamander Press closed down and he moved from Seattle to New Mexico, after which our contact became sporadic.

I will never forget the encouragement he gave me at a time when I needed it.

Monday, 29 March 2021

Winter on Aubarch 6 to be reprinted in The Martian Wave.

Just received an acceptance for a reprint of a science fiction story that first appeared in Fear magazine, edited by John Gilbert in 1989. Winter on Aubarch 6 will next appear in The Martian Wave edited by Tyree Campbell in the States.


Sunday, 28 March 2021

Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 2 - opens for submissions from the 1st of April till the 30th April

I can announce that volume 2 already has 4 stories accepted. These were tales that could not be fitted in volume 1. To compensate, though, it has been decided to make the second volume even longer than the first, so we are looking for at least another eight stories to include this time. 
Stories already accepted are:





New submissions for Swords & Sorceries Volume 2 open on the 1st April and will close on the 30th of that month.

Payment is £25 per story regardless of length, plus a contributor's copy. The book will be published as a paperback and ebook. If a hardcover version is published we will pay an additional £25. Contributors can also buy additional copies of the book through us at cost price. 

Please send your submissions to:


Please keep formatting as simple as possible, but we are not fussy. Just don't make it unnecessarily fancy or complicated. We just want an easy to print-off copy we can read.

There is no limit on the size of submissions.

Any stories accepted will be reformatted by us anyway for publication.

Please send your story as an attachment, headed "Submission - Swords & Sorceries 2"

And good luck!


To get a better idea of the kind of stories we are likely to publish in this anthology check out volume 1:



The contents of Volume One are:




TROLLS ARE DIFFERENT - Susan Murrie Macdonald




RED - Chadwick Ginther


The cover and all the interior artwork is by Jim Pitts. 


Parallel Universe Publications


Saturday, 20 March 2021

Concrete Plans and Fall of a Kingdom

Tried to watch Fall of a Kingdom last night but was put off by dull, characterless acting and an even duller script which possibly gave the actors little with which to work. I'm sorry, but a good historical drama needs more than choreographed sword fights to make it interesting. It needs characters who have a semblance of being real people and not cliched cardboard cutouts. Gave up after half and hour to watch a rather brutal if better acted British film called Concrete Plans. I wouldn't call this a classic movie but it did keep me enthralled - and appalled!

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

After Nightfall & Other Weird Tales reviewed on Hellnotes by Mario Guslandi


There is now a great review for After Nightfall & Other Weird Tales on the Hellnotes site by regular reviewer Mario Guslandi.

"A prolific and well respected British horror writer, David A Riley repurposes a bunch of his short stories in a new collection where each tale is graced by dark (and sometimes outright disquieting) illustrations by artist Jim Pitts, which produce further shivers along the reader’s spine..."

To read the full review click on this link

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Dave Carson's Called by Cthulhu: The Eldritch Art of Dave Carson


Yesterday I received my copy from amazon of Dave Carson's magnum opus, Called by Cthulhu, which contains probably all of his artwork for the past 50 years or more, much of it in the Lovecraftian Mythos vein for which he is so well known. In fact, a framed A3 print of Dave Carson's depicting H. P. Lovecraft is proudly hung on my office wall (see below).

Measuring 10 x 6 3/4 inches and 384 pages long, Called by Cthulhu is a large soft cover book with hundreds of Dave's distinctively styled black and white pictures, including, I was pleased to find, the illustration I commissioned from him for issue 1 of Beyond magazine which I edited and published in 1995 for Karl Edward Wagner's story Gremlin. It was one of the last stories Karl ever wrote and sadly wasn't published until after his untimely death. 

This is an excellent book, and I am pleased to see Dave Carson's work collected like this. My copy now sits alongside books of John Stewart and Jim Pitts on my bookshelf where it rightfully belongs.


Dave Carson's illustration for Gremlin by Karl Edward Wagner

Sunday, 7 March 2021

They Got Away With Murder

One of the most fascinating series we have been watching recently on TV has been on Youtube: They Got Away With Murder, created and presented by writer and artist Mark John Maguire. The wealth of details he brings to each story is fantastic, including old photographs, mini-biographies, and I especially like that he follows through with details of the culprits' lives afterwards up until to their eventual deaths, often many years later. 

One of the most horrifying stories is that of Dr John Bodkin Adams, who is probably Britain's most prolific murderer. He not only received protection from people in authority (such as Assistant Chief Constables) but made a vast fortune out of his murders too, persuading many of his victims to include him in their wills. This story has to be watched to be believed. Unlike Harold Shipman this man got away with it to die of natural causes many years later in his eighties.

Saturday, 6 March 2021

My Review of Bloody Britain to be broadcast on Big Hits Radio this Sunday

My review of Anna Taborska's short story collection Bloody Britain (Shadow Publishing, 2020) will be broadcast by Trevor Kennedy this Sunday on his two-hour radio show between 12 noon and 2 p.m. on Big Hits Radio.

My review was originally published in Phantasmagoria magazine #17. If you would like to read it now follow this link: Book Review - Bloody Britain



Thursday, 4 March 2021

The Ever More Fantastical Art of Jim Pitts

The Ever More Fantastical Art of Jim Pitts is developing well, with great sections of new illustrations for M. R. James, H. P. Lovecraft, William Hope Hodgson, Clark Ashton Smith, Adrian Cole's Elak: King of Atlantis, The Fantastic Fiction of Hans Bok, Robert E. Howard, and Phantasmagoria magazine. Others are in the process of being included - details soon. 

The Ever More Fantastical Art of Jim Pitts will be a fitting sequel to the first volume, published in hardcover and packed with brand new black and white and full-colour illustrations.

All pre-ordered copies will be signed by Jim Pitts and will include 5 black & white or colour prints (please select from here) and will be posted as soon as the book is published.

If you have any queries please contact us at paralleluniversepublications@gmx.co.uk

To pre-order a copy click on the following link to our Pre Order page: Pre Orders



These days I don't usually have much time for superhero series, with the exception of The Boys, of course, and Gotham, but I must admit I really enjoyed watching Stargirl, even though I thought initially I would hate it. Why did I like it? The acting was great, the storylines were intererestingly original, and the villains were realistically evil to the nth degree. I must admit it isn't a series I would have expected to like, especially given that some of the central characters were teenage girls (!) Maybe it was helped along a lot by actors like Trae Romano who played Stargirl's stepfather and sounded a hell of a lot like Nicolas Cage. The humour in it was helpful too, contrasting with the violence and deaths that littered the stories. And there were some excellent special effects and a great giant robot.

Deception (The Best Offer) - 2013 Movie

Watched an absolutely astonishingly good film on amazon prime last night, Deception (outside the UK known as The Best Offer) directed by Giuseppe Tornatore and starring Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess, Sylvia Hoeks, and Donald Sutherland. I had never even heard of this film before but it is now one of my favourite films ever, fabulously directed, acted and written, with some of the most stunning sets ever created. Thoroughly recommended.


Sunday, 31 January 2021

My first story published in 2021 - Boat Trip in Lovecraftiana magazine Candlemas 2021 issue

My first magazine appearance this year is in the Candlemas 2021 issue of Lovecraftiana magazine.  Boat Trip was first published in paperback and hardcover in The Third Spectral Book of Horror edited by Joseph Rubas in 2016. It also appears in After Nightfall & Other Weird Tales, illustrated by Jim Pitts. 

To order copies of this magazine click on this link



Friday, 8 January 2021

My review of Bloody Britain by Anna Taborska


This is a copy of my review in the latest issue of Phantasmagoria magazine:

BLOODY BRITAIN by Anna Taborska

Shadow Publishing, UK, 2020

Despite its Grand Guignol title this is a beautiful book, with a magnificent cover by Paul Mudie, marvellously meticulous illustrations by Reggie Oliver for each of the stories, and of course the stories themselves, which are every bit as good as you would expect from film-maker and horror writer Anna Taborska, whose debut collection from Mortbury Press, For Those who Dream Monsters won the Dracula Society’s Children of the Night Award and was nominated for a British Fantasy Award.

In his introduction, Robert Shearman writes: “…God protect me from being a character in an Anna Taborska story: Anything but that. Please.”

Which is more than understandable! Anna takes no prisoners. Or, when she does, they are still made to suffer the tortures of Hell!

Most of the stories in this collection have been published before in a number of prestigious anthologies, from Paul Finch’s Terror Tales series (Terror Tales of the Lake District, Terror Tales of Northwest England, and Terror Tales of London) and the late Charles Black’s Black Book of Horror. Indeed, the book is dedicated to Charles Black, who died last year at far too young an age, and who published Anna’s first collection.

“Teatime”, despite its innocuous title is typical of what is in Bloody Britain. Our “hero” Victor enjoys watching people die and specialises in making sure that when they do they are suffering from their worst nightmares. He is the supreme sadist, who has developed the knack of finding out just what each of his target’s greatest, most terrifying phobia is. In its 38-pages Victor participates in a horrendous spree of blood-curdling cruelty to victims who deserve anything but what befalls them, right up until its savage climax. Sleepless nights are guaranteed after reading this!

I was going to say that the supernatural does not figure largely in these stories, but “Night of the Crone” from Terror Tales of the Lake District belies me. Here we have an ancient evil that a gang of young hooligans inadvertently unleash on themselves, the good, the bad and the downright nasty. And, of course, we have “Cyril’s Mission” with its giant worm: “Its skin was brownish-pink and membranous. Stretched out on the floor, the abomination extended from one end of the crypt to the other. As Cyril stared at it, the beast reared up, its front half towering above him. The priest watched as a gaping maw opened in its featureless snout, exposing a halo of slavering, flesh-coloured tentacles surrounding a set of sharp, lamprey-like teeth…” A more horrifying monster it would be difficult to imagine.

All in all, a satisfyingly varied collection of tales that fully live up to the book’s title!



 Phantasmagoria - only £9.99 on amazon: